Research on marine ecosystems

A warmer Arctic will affect wildlife and the environment associated with the sea. Norwegian Polar Institute conducts research on species that are particularly vulnerable to climate change, particularly those who depend on ice for their survival.

ICE ecosystems

In a warmer Arctic, indigenous species that are dependent upon ice will be exposed to great changes in habitat. The expected physical changes in the environment, the most important of which are a dramatic reduction in the extent of the sea ice and higher water and air temperatures, will lead to the disappearance of habitats where some species of mammals (including seals and polar bears) reproduce and forage (areas where they seek and eat food). In addition, the availability of valuable resting and transport “corridors” for other species (including seabirds) which roam over large areas of what are normally ice-filled waters is reduced.

Through ICE ecosystems, the Norwegian Polar Institute focuses on indigenous, arctic, ice-associated species which are among those most threatened by the coming changes in climate; ice fauna, zooplankton, polar cod, polar bear, ringed seal and ivory gull.

Ocean acidification and ecosystems in northern waters

CO2 dissolves more readily in cold water than warmer water, which means that northern waters are more prone to ocean acidification. More acidic seas can influence lime-forming organisms, and may affect primary production, zooplankton communities and early life stages of vertebrates like fish larvae, and may therefore be important for the management and commercial exploitation of living marine resources.

This is one of the research flagships of the Fram Centre in Tromsø. The work is led by the Norwegian Polar Institute and the Norwegian Institute for Marine Research.

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